May 2010

Blogs31 May 2010 03:58 pm

It’s a cactus flower photo gallery! Add your cactus flower photos too!

Misc31 May 2010 12:01 pm

from Amazon.

I don’t think these need any comments – they really speak for themselves. And yet… I think I have to comment on the quality of the glaze, the satisfying colors of the sunset along the mountain ridgeline, the functional nature of this mug-like cactus boot, the purity of the shine of the leather.

Misc31 May 2010 10:57 am

Looks sweet. But if you click through, the expression of the guy eating the candy makes it look a bit more tart than sweet.

News&Recipes31 May 2010 09:24 am

Agave Nectar is the latest hot product in the sweetener world. I like it for making drinks, and I even use it in spaghetti sauce occasionally.

Just as maple syrup is a wholly natural sweetener from Mother Nature’s maple tree, agave (pronounced ah-gah-vay) is a natural nectar from the cactus plant.

But that’s not right – Agaves aren’t a cactus plant. You can get all kinds of fruits and vegetables from cactus plants, but not agave nectar (and not tequila either.) Click through the links for recipes.

Reader Photos31 May 2010 08:06 am

A very bloomful Echinopsis eyriesii sent to us from reader A Deacon’s Wife.

Photography30 May 2010 12:45 pm

This hedgehog cactus has yellow flowers, hence the name or so I assume. I wasn’t the one to name it so I hesitate to read someone else’s mind.


Echinocereus “Yellow Torch”

News30 May 2010 08:01 am

The Central Valley (CA) has had water issues. Some orchards have died for lack of water, or at least for lack of drip watering systems. Cactus may be the answer.

A cactus plant that produces delicious fruit may show promise for cultivation in the water-short west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

Its second promising feature is its absorption of selenium, a compound that is overabundant in westside soils….

A cooperative project between the U.S. Department of Agriculture at its facility in Parlier in Fresno County and Fresno State University is evaluating the growth potential of the cactus…

The cactus under study is Opuntia, a variety native to the U.S. Southwest. It grows in the wild in desert and arid regions, the Western Pacific and near the Mediterranean. Its fruit is called cactus fig, although some have referred to the bright red delicacies as cactus apples and prickly pears….

Three irrigation strategies are being studied. One involves good quality water; another, poor quality water; and the third, no water at all. Absorption of selenium by the cactus will be measured and evaluated.

Another important aspect of the study is the exploration of new and improved food products developed from the figs and the thick cactus stems. The fruit of the cactus is edible when peeled, and sweeter and juicier than might be expected. Its pulp and juice have been used to produce jams, jellies, candies and other fruit products.

“Bright red delicacies” indeed!

News29 May 2010 12:34 pm

One of Monterey County’s historic horticultural treasures will be on display during this holiday weekend, as work begins to rediscover its unique, original qualities. The Arizona Garden was designed and installed in the early 1880s as a feature of the luxurious new Hotel del Monte, which was built to attract passengers for the just-completed transcontinental railroad.

This colorized postcard showing the Arizona Garden was sent out by Hotel Del Monte sometime around 1890. (SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, DUDLEY KNOX LIBRARY, NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL)

California Native Plants29 May 2010 11:42 am

Mimulus “Trish” is the last of our currently blooming native monkeyflowers.


Questions&Reader Photos29 May 2010 07:33 am

You never know what kind of common names you’re going to get from a cactus.

(Here’s) a picture of a cactus I have that blooms once every May.  Four tall white flowers that look like umbrellas. I would like to know what kind of cactus it is. Thanks.


That’s an Echinopsis alright, formerly known as a Lobivia. As for the particular species, it’s hard to tell from the photo, but it might be Echinopsis subdenudata from Bolivia.

Whippets28 May 2010 05:17 pm

Benjamin likes going on long driving trips with us.

Science28 May 2010 12:17 pm

Hey friends, i just to find your page and i think is wonderful, but i would like to say that the name of Echinocereus grandiflora is not a correct name (you show the hybrids there).

The correct name is Echinopsis grandiflora (Trichocereus grandiflora)

Ing. Escudero

Thanks for the note.

Ours are mixed hybrids, including both Echinopsis and Echinocereus, hence all the different flower colors. As an intergenic hybrid, we choose not to use the Echinopsis grandiflora designation, which we think would be more confusing.

Misc28 May 2010 06:26 am

She traveled to what was then known as British Somaliland, now a semi-independent republic of Somalia. I’ll let reader Stijn tell the rest of the story (from comments):

Edith Cole (1859-1940) was a English lady that lived in Woodhay, Hampshire, England. Her father has done good business that enabled to familie live a prosperous life in wealth.
She was befriended with mrs. E. Lort-Philips, which was the wife of a explorist/big game shooter.
In early 1895 they (Miss Edith Cole, mr. and mrs. Lort-Philips, mr. Aylmer) went to Berbera, British Somaliland. From there they made a 3 month expedition in the Golis Mountains.
During that trips, the men collected animals (they shot them firts that is), while the ladies collected butterflies and plants. One of these is Edithcolea grandis, named after Edith Cole.

I’m currently collecting info about this expedition and it’s members. I’ve some letters, articles and maps that help me reconstruct the expedition.

Here’s the plant in question, named for Edith:

That is some flower.

Misc27 May 2010 12:49 pm

…Rain, that is. I swear we might as well be living in Seattle.

Well, that was another easy blog post. It’s Raining! Yay!

OK, so maybe I should suggest some indoor activities to while away the time. I suggest you comb your 70s orange shag carpeting. Or maybe you could make a toasted cheese sandwich in your toaster oven. I know! How about building a marshmallow castle.

Misc27 May 2010 12:16 pm

It’s a high-end cactus chair from Denger Cengiz. Available at Voos in New York for more than $2k each. Woohoo!

Echinocactus grusonii, also known as the Mother-in-Law’s Seat. You’d need to be pretty careful with the watering.

Questions27 May 2010 08:48 am

Hi, we had a cactus planted in our front yard about six months ago. It’s getting browned and hard at the bottom, but not mushy (which I thought would indicate overwatering). The browning is working its way up the plant, but if it IS overwatering, of course I don’t want to continue to contribute to that problem by watering it more thinking it’s too dry.

Any suggestions!? Thanks!

Matt B
San Diego

It’s a little hard to tell exactly what I’m looking at there. It’s probably just barking, i.e. the plant is turning into a tree and creating a trunk at the bottom with bark. On the other hand, it could be an infection. The key question is: Is the area soft or firm? Firm is good, soft is rot and that would be bad.

If it is soft, then given the location of the rot, you probably need to cut the plant down and get rid of the root mass. You can then save the branches, let them dry in shade for a week or two, and then plant them in a fast draining cactus soil.

A warning: This is a Euphorbia and it has caustic sap. Wear protective clothing, long gloves and eye protection. Don’t get any of the milky white sap on you.

What rot in a Euphorbia looks like.

Peter, I really appreciate your response.

It’s hard – very hard – and inching upward even though I’m not watering the plant at all, so it sounds as though it’s barking.

Again – thanks so much!!
Matt B

Photography27 May 2010 06:46 am

Jatropha berlandieri is in bloom, as they tend to be all summer long. This is one of those plants that we do not water at all over the winter. It dies back to the caudex. They will get about a foot across, and if you dig it up, the underground part of the caudex is usually not so round, not so perfect. They’re found along the Mexico/Texas border.

Questions26 May 2010 08:46 am

Hiya guys,
I just got back from my tour of the US,
and my buddy gave me some cow’s tongue opuntia when I was passing thru New Mexico.
I was wondering if the fruit is edible and the same as standard prickly pear.
I never see this in the Bay area, is it rare out here?

All opuntia fruit is edible, just some taste better than others, some are less spiny and easier to get at than others, and some are already bottled in fancy sweet vinegars made in Italy.

California Native Plants26 May 2010 06:41 am

Mimulus puniceus is more of a burgundy monkeyflower to my eye. Not as showy as the white monkeyflower I featured a couple days ago.


Misc25 May 2010 05:44 pm

Oops, I forgot to blog today. Here have a hummingbird babies in a nest photo.


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